HALF of Finnish small and medium enterprises estimate that the racism debate that has been a prominent feature of public discourse this summer has damaged the country image of Finland, reveals a survey commissioned by Yrittäjät.
“The summer debate, even though it is founded partly on writings from years ago, raises questions and concerns among business owners,” Mikael Pentikäinen, the managing director of Yrittäjät, said in a news release on Saturday.
Simultaneously, though, only six per cent of the business representatives surveyed estimated that the debate has had an impact on the operations of their business. Such concerns were prevalent especially among businesses employing more than 10 people and among 18–39-year-old entrepreneurs.
“The controversy is assessed to have had an impact on the country image but not so much on individual companies. Customers evaluate companies based on their service capabilities and expertise,” analysed Pentikäinen.
One-third of respondents gauged that the debate has not had a negative impact on the country image, while 17 per cent declined to comment. Women were more concerned about of the debate than men, with 64 per cent of female representatives viewing that it has had a negative impact compared to 42 per cent of male representatives.
Fewer than a quarter of business representatives stated that they are satisfied with the start of the government of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP), which has been widely described as pro-business and pro-industry. More than 60 per cent of respondents were dissatisfied with the first few months of the electoral term, while 14 per cent declined to evaluate the performance.
Discontent is high especially in the service sector, the responses suggest.
“The start has looked messy and quarrelsome in the eyes of entrepreneurs. They expected better,” said Pentikäinen. “The budget session offers the government an opportunity to show leadership and implement its programme, which will revitalise the public economy and overhaul labour markets. Entrepreneurs expect the government to tackle the serious defects in the Finnish economy.”
Representatives from 1,207 small and medium enterprises responded to the survey conducted by Kantar Public on 9–16 August.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT